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Fallout from Kirk’s comments weakens bid for 2nd Senate term

(CHICAGO) Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois enters the crucial final week before Election Day weakened by comments about his opponent that critics are calling racist and “beyond reprehensible.”

Two organizations whose endorsements Kirk had touted withdrew their backing over the weekend, saying they’re now supporting Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Human Rights Campaign and a gun-control group led by ex-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords cited Kirk’s remarks during a debate last Thursday. Kirk mocked Duckworth’s immigrant background and her family’s history of military service. He apologized Friday.

Campaign Spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis called the reversals “unfortunate.” She says the decisions were “based on politics instead of reality.”

Kirk spent the weekend outside of the public eye, while Duckworth had a full schedule of campaign events.

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